In Memoriam: October 2008

IEEE mourns the loss of the following members

6 October 2008

Robert W. Thomas
Research scientist
Fellow, 71; died 16 February

Robert W. Thomas was a government research scientist at the Rome Air Development Center in Rome, N.Y., for 32 years. He joined the center in 1976 and worked in its silicon IC fabrication facility, managing the organization’s product evaluation laboratory, where he performed quality assessments for some of the most important semiconductor projects in the world.

He was the general chair of IEEE’s International Reliability Physics Symposium and served as a member of its board of directors for eight years. He was also an editor and member of the advisory board of the IEEE Transactions on Device Materials Liability.

Thomas earned a bachelor’s degree at San Jose State University in California, a master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in the solid-state sciences from Syracuse University, in New York.


Jin Au Kong
Electromagnetics expert
Fellow, 65; died 12 March

Jin Au Kong, an internationally acclaimed expert on electromagnetic waves, was a faculty member of MIT’s electrical engineering and computer science department for nearly 40 years.

He joined MIT in 1969 as a professor of electrical engineering at the Research Laboratory for the Electronics Center for Electromagnetic Theory and Applications. Kong was the founder and president of the Electromagnetics Academy at MIT, which is devoted to the research and development of electromagnetic theory. He also published 30 books on electromagnetics and coauthored more than 700 research papers and book chapters.

Kong received an honorary doctor degree in science in 2006 from the University of Nantes in France and later that year received a similar degree from the University of Paris.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1962 from Taiwan University, and in 1965 he received a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Taiwan’s National Chiao Tung University in Hsinchu. He earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1968 from Syracuse University in New York.


Pak Lim Chu
Pioneer in fiber optics
Member, 67; died 15 March

Pak Lim Chu established the first academic fiber-optics research laboratory in Australia at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in 1976 and made pioneering contributions to fiber-optic technology.

In the 1980s he invented a method to measure refractive-index profiles of fiber preforms, a method that was adopted in an advanced commercial instrument for optical-fiber characterization. He also solved the problem of soliton interaction, which laid the foundation for the field of soliton communications, a form of optical transmission that enhances the signal-carrying capacity of an optical fiber.

As a professor of fiber optics, Chu developed the first undergraduate course in optical communications technology at UNSW. He was awarded the Centenary Medal of Australia in 2001 for his contributions to optical communications. After retiring from UNSW in 2001, he became the department chair of electronic engineering at City University of Hong Kong and was also appointed director of the university’s Optoelectronics Research Centre.

He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering in 1965 and 1966, as well as a Ph.D. in electrical engineering in 1971, all from UNSW.


Bruce H. Hasegawa
Researcher in radiology
Member, 56; died 22 May

Bruce H. Hasegawa was a well-known researcher at the University of California, San Francisco.

He joined the university in 1986 as a professor of radiology and went on to become director of the school’s physics research laboratory. He was also a chief researcher at the school, where he developed X-ray imaging for medical diagnostics, nuclear medicine imaging instrumentation, and imaging techniques for small animals. He also had a faculty appointment in the department of nuclear engineering at the University of California, Berkeley.

Hasegawa earned a bachelor’s in physics and mathematics in 1976 from California State University in Fresno. He also received a master’s degree in medical physics at the University of Colorado Medical Center in Denver in 1982 and a Ph.D. in medical physics in 1984 from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.


Nihat Bilgutay
Expert in ultrasonic testing
Fellow, 56; died 1 July

Nihat Bilgutay made important contributions to ultrasonic nondestructive testing and imaging, specifically using split-spectrum processing for ultrasonic imaging applications.

He became a professor of electrical engineering in 1981 at Drexel University in Philadelphia and went on to head its department of electrical and computer engineering. He also led the Gateway Engineering Education Coalition, a multi-institutional collaborative program headquartered at Drexel.

Bilgutay earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1973 from Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. He received master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering in 1975 and 1981 from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.


Scott William Curry
Sound engineer
Member, 48; died 31 July

Scott William Curry was a musician and sound reinforcement engineer who worked with arranging microphones, amplifiers, and other components of sound reinforcement systems. He died from pancreatic cancer.

As an adolescent, Curry spent his spare time taking apart and repairing speakers, leading him to form his own company, Scott Curry Sound, in 1984. It worked for entertainment management companies in the Los Angeles area setting up sound and lighting equipment.

For the last 10 years Curry worked in the telecommunications industry as an electrical grounding consultant in the Seattle and Portland, Ore., areas.

Curry earned a bachelor’s degree in acoustical physics and technical theater from Santa Barbara City College in California. He also received a master’s in acoustical physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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